I was going through Wikipedia pages for the Isuzu Axiom in preparation for another post on a future car show about cars from today when I discovered the Great Wall Hover, produced from 2005 to 2012.
It all started with this footnote in a Wikipedia article.
The Chinese-produced Great Wall Hover’s design is heavily inspired by the Axiom, but is unrelated
I’d also like to elaborate on the name “Axiom,” courtesy of Wikipedia.
The name “Axiom” was determined by a naming contest held by Isuzu, and was won by Dr. Hakan Urey from Redmond, Washington, who suggested the name and won his own Axiom in 2001. The word means a statement or proposition that is regarded as being established, accepted, or self-evidently true.
Let’s quickly compare the polarizing styling of the Axiom, based off the old Rodeo and still carrying a body on frame design. The Hover also appears to be truck based. As if it wasn’t enough to rip off Isuzu’s ambitious but failed take on the increasingly competitive SUV market they helped to create, Great Wall seems to have used it to birth the strangely named sister brand Haval.
The Hover was renamed to the Haval H3 still under the Great Wall Marque at some point. Wikipedia claims Haval was launched in 2013 and the Great Wall Hover ended production in 2012, so it seems like sort of a Hyundai Genesis esque story here.
The Great Wall Hover was also imported to Europe and competed with Ssangyong and other niche brands based on the car’s low price.
To make things even more confusing, I found this image of the SUV marked “Hover H3.” Good photos of these cars are surprisingly hard to come by.
Great Wall also produced a limousine variant caller the Hover Pi.
So this all begs the question, why copy Isuzu? There were plenty of more successful brands with better looking cars that were also less acquainted with the Chinese market. Isuzu would absolutely have known immediately about the forgery while a copy of the Chevy Trailblazer might have gone unnoticed. That also brings up the question of how Great Wall even heard about the Axiom when it was US market only and China is not know for their detailed information of the world outside China.
Haval’s current lineup is also rather dreary. They appear to have attempted to build a million different varieties of Ford Escape but slightly uglier.
So there you have it, the US market only Isuzu Axiom inspired the Great Wall Hover, which inspired its own brand named after it, though it was never sold under the marque.